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222 18th Street
Ship Bottom, NJ
Monday, October 20, 2008: Waves: Dropping slowly. Water clarity: Good. Water temps: Low 60s.
Weekend rundown: As expected, the bluefishing went ballistic. Blues love a good stir to enhance their ambush potential. Add to the mix, cooler water and enough bunker to feed the ghosts over at the Fish Factory and the hooking got hot –despite the coolness in the wind. The interplay zone between anglers and blued was generally the North End, from whence came nearly 40 tourney fish on Saturday. Tom White and Nick Sabatino tied for the bluefish lead in the tourney with equal 16-3 slammers. I’ll go out on a limb by suggesting Tom was using one of his own handcrafted plugs. Those plugs will now be the equivalent of “shot-over” decoys, bearing the marks of action under fire. Note: You can fake shotgun pellet hits on a wooden duck but you need real-thing jaws to leave the slammer scars of a plug.
There was a scattering of bass but that bite remains well below normal. I still think this week might see a steadier showing of stripers.
We’ll see a hard west flow for a couple days but it now looks as if we’ll go back to brisk NE by late-week – and finally get some water from the sky. That does not loom badly for bassing.
It was confirmed that Holgate took a horrible hit yesterday with the dead forest now all but blocking the entire beachway near the Nest. This is per Stu D. who watches the area closely. (I’ve been spitting time between LBI and the Pines where I’m carrying out some coyote experiments.)
A 27-inch fluke was taken near LE Inlet as a boater his from the winds near a sedge. It took a circle-hooked sand eel. (I’m doing a sand eel segment for my weekly column since this top-shelf baitfish remains hugely present, per belly content looks.
The following is a well-written account of current top bass in the tourney. It has an enticing spiritual ring that sits very well with me:
“They say there is a story behind every fish and I think this one is pretty interesting.
“My name is Matt Onofrio and I have been coming to LBI all my I come from a big competitive family (7 brothers and 4 sisters). All the brothers are avid fishermen and we often swap fish stories.
“The biggest fish in the family to date was a 38-pounder and there are several 30lb+ stripers caught over the years.
“I have been fishing a particular beach for the last 10years. We stumbled upon it when my father-in-law rented a house for his family in early July one year. We caught fish in July, then tried it in the fall did well and have been fishing it since.
“Over the years we have spent a lot of time on this beach, seen many a sunrise and had many a good time. Every October I would rent a place for 4 or 5 days and my father-in law and I would fish non stop. Family and friends would visit and a great time was had by all.
“ Unfortunately my father-in law passed away in December of 2005 after having a stroke at the way to young age of 69. He is sadly missed by all that knew him as he was a very special person. At his request we spread some of his ashes on "Bennys Beach".
“My wife has had a specially difficult time with the passing of her father as they were very close, which brings us to this past Friday.
“Every year one of my brothers host a "brothers weekend" at his house in Beasly's Point where we eat, drink and fish-mostly eat and drink. This year was to be special as all 8 brothers and my father were available. One of my brothers and I decided to take off Friday and catch the tide before heading to our brothers.
“After fishing for a while I got a call from my wife wondering how I was doing. During the conversation I remarked that I was thinking of her dad and that he needed to send me a big fish. She talked of how much she missed him and of her doubts of a heaven and such as she had not felt like their had been any contact or signs from him that all is somehow OK.
“Now, I was fishing with my 2 interline poles, one that my wife had bought me and the other that I had given to her father for Christmas one year.
“As soon as I had gotten to the beach I had jigged a Sea Herring from the surf and had put the head on his pole. We had not hung up for more than 15 minutes when I turned to see his pole literally bent in half with a hit of my lifetime.
“Picking up the pole I held on tight as the fish ripped line all the while thinking of all the things I had read or heard about landing a big fish.
“In a surprisingly short period of time I had a "Heaven sent" 46.4 striper on the beach.
Now this fish may or may not hold up as a tournament winner but it certainly is the biggest of my family and it will always have a special meaning to our family and anyone that knew my father-in-law. It has also made a believer of myself and my wife that our loved ones that are no longer here are somehow looking out for us.”